25 December 2010


I was driving home the other night, listening to NPR. There was a program playing about some aspect of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, par for the course at this time of year. Welling up were the opening strains of Waltz of the Flowers. To most, this would be a moment to sit back and enjoy a classic passage of the famous symphony and ballet. To me-something akin to abject terror. In my head I hear, "Get into the wings! We are on next!" And of course the classic PTSD nightmare of every performer, "I'm not in costume!"
In the early 90s, when FatChanceBellyDance was just becoming known to the world, we were already the darlings of the San Francisco Art Scene. We were invited to all sorts of alternative arts functions. We were "ethnic" and "modern" all at the same time. One year, we were approached by Dance Brigade to perform in the "Ethnic Village" of the Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, an alternative ballet. It celebrated the renown ballet, while making a parody of it at the same time. How "San Francisco"!
But I digress, back to the terrifying aspect of Waltz of the Flowers. Since our appearance in the Sweetie, every time I hear the opening measures of Waltz of the Flowers I am paralyzed with fear. It was the act that preceded us in the production. I am forever frozen with fear when I hear it because it tells me, "Get backstage now! Show!"
I might be shopping in a mall, making dinner at home, driving on the freeway. Every time I hear it, my performer-self goes into a panic because I am not backstage, in costume, ready to perform.
Of course we never missed an entrance and went on to present a 2:27 minute suite to the last section of our chosen music, Hossam Ramzy's Roah Albi from Baladi Plus, nicknamed "Nutcracker". Not as you might expect because the drum solo feels like a 'vise grip' but because it was the name of the show that it became famous for.
Ask me and I'll play it for you sometime, It will help to balance out the yearly panic of Waltz of the Flowers.
*ps, that's me doing a layback in the poster!